This article was written as a blog post for AptoZen, an Intrax company.
“What’s a typical day like?” This is a question I’m often asked by job candidates. I usually smile and say there’s no such thing as a typical day in a busy marketing office. But the truth is, work life has a predictable flow, and it can be disorienting to lose that structure during a job search. When you don’t have external deadlines and team meetings, it’s easy to feel at sea and rudderless.
To maintain your sanity, you’ll want to establish a daily routine so you can go to bed each night knowing you’ve made progress toward your next great job. Here are some ways to do that:
Start early. Set your alarm. Plan to wake up at the same time every day. You get to skip the commute, but you should treat each weekday as a workday. Your job search is your full-time job.
Power up. Find a morning routine that energizes you. Hit the gym, walk, jog, or take a bike ride. This is a great time to get into better shape, but other activities can get you going as well. You could spend an hour writing or listening to music.
Have a list. Give yourself daily job search assignments to research companies, apply for jobs, send thank-you notes, or schedule networking meetings. Keep a list and cross off items as they’re completed. I like to write tasks on sticky notes then crumpled them up when they’re completed.
Take breaks. The work of finding work can be extremely sedentary. Take frequent short breaks and walk around, stretch, or take care of a household chore.
Talk to humans. Make at least one real human connection each day. If you haven’t scheduled coffee or lunch with a professional contact, then call a friend on the phone and talk for a while. Other ways to make human connections are through networking events and volunteering.
Fuel your mind. Make sure your daily schedule includes personal development. Take an online class, listen to a podcast, or read a couple chapters of a good book.
End of the day. A job search is like a hunt for buried treasure. There’s always another hole to dig or stone to turn over. Be sure to end your day at a reasonable hour. Make a list for the next day, unplug, then relax and do something you enjoy.
Sticking to a daily schedule will help you stay sane during your job search. You’ll start the day with a plan, and end the day feeling balanced, healthy, and accomplished.